In today’s fast-paced world, investment in research and development (R&D) is essential for every business to remain competitive, but for smaller businesses, adequate R&D funding and resources can be more difficult.
Our universities and institutes of technology are packed with some of the most exciting world-class research and ideas, as well as specialist facilities and equipment.
Developing and strengthening connections between these public research opportunities and businesses is key to growing business innovation and ensuring that great ideas can evolve into new products and solutions.
This is where Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) comes in.
Established by the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in 2013, KTI helps put technology, ideas and expertise from publicly funded research into the hands of business.
KTI acts as a signpost for all businesses, from start-ups to multinationals, giving them quick, easy and efficient access to the Irish research system and enabling them to engage in the knowledge transfer process.
But what exactly is knowledge transfer? Knowledge transfer is an effective way to help companies leverage key areas of innovation capability.
Knowledge transfer is made possible through collaborative or contractual research engagements between companies and the third level.
The results of these engagements, such as new technologies or intellectual property, can be used to develop new products, processes and services.
This research also underpins the creation of spin-off companies.
Based in Enterprise Ireland, part of KTI’s role is to act as a national office, making it easy for companies to access the knowledge transfer system. It does this by running a funding scheme on behalf of Enterprise Ireland to support Ireland’s network of Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs), also known as Innovation Offices.
These skilled teams based in universities and institutes of technology oversee the knowledge transfer process and manage relationships with companies seeking to benefit from access to Irish tier 3 skills, technology and intellectual property. other research organizations.
There is a lot of help available – financial and otherwise. — to help support this process and Ireland continues to perform well in terms of engagement.
The 2020 Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey, produced annually by KTI, found that 3,681 new R&D and consultancy agreements were entered into between business and non-commercial entities and higher education institutions over the past the year, an increase of 39% compared to the previous year. Three-quarters of these deals were with Irish SMEs.
The survey also revealed that 30 spin-off companies were created in 2020 and there are now 128 spin-off companies still active more than three years after their incorporation.
Many of these spin-outs also become high-potential start-ups, backed by Enterprise Ireland. Some recent examples include TU Dublin spin-out Ocumetra, UCD spin-out Sirius XT, NUI Galway spin-out Neurent Medical, and Dundalk IT spin-out Nova Leah.
In fact, Ocumetra, which developed a pioneering eye monitoring tool capable of identifying abnormal (myopic) eye growth, became an HPSU just six months after its inception.
The numbers prove that there is no shortage of great ideas in Ireland and that these produce tangible results when business and public research work together.
For example, Inferneco Ltd and IT Carlow worked to bring to market a bottle disinfection system for the hospitality industry using UV light, and Grian Water and Letterkenny IT, worked to develop a new prototype of its treatment product. MyGug water, which turns organic matter into renewable fuel.
KTI wants as many businesses as possible to benefit from Ireland’s impressive research, development and innovation ecosystem.
Our website knowledgetransferireland.com contains a range of downloadable documents and resources, including a research map of Ireland, a downloadable national directory of research materials and an interactive funding finder.
The potential can be limitless when the strengths of third-level research and business are combined with common purpose and purpose to deliver more advanced solutions for industry and society.
Elizabeth Carvill is a senior manager at Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI)